Time for Action on Drug Consumption Rooms

Yesterday the Scottish Parliament voted to support plans to introduce the UK’s first safe injection room for drug users in Glasgow. This vote received cross party support with only the Tories voting against it.

As a long term advocate of such a measure I welcome the Scottish Parliament’s support. There is an overwhelming body of evidence to suggest it would not only reduce the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C, but also prevent needles and other drug paraphernalia from being left in public spaces.

However the laws that are needed to allow this facility to operate are reserved to the Westminster Parliament. The UK Government refuses to transfer these powers and by doing so continues to ignore health professionals, former members of law enforcement, addiction services, drugs policy organisations and governments from around the world that have found these facilities to be beneficial to society.

In January 2018 I hosted a parliamentary debate and urged the UK Government to take a more evidence based approach to drugs policy. I was joined by colleagues from across the chamber who agreed that maintaining the failed drug policies of the past is no longer an option.

If the UK Government is unwilling to act then they should forward the relevant powers to Scotland so that we can press ahead with drug consumption facilities similar to those that are already operating in 70 cities across the world.